Battles of the New Republic

A Contemporary History of Nepal

September 2014 9781849044592 288pp
EU Customers


Battles of The New Republic tells the story of Nepal’s transformation from war to peace, monarchy to republic, a Hindu kingdom to a secular state, and a unitary to a potentially federal state.

Simultaneously historical analysis, reportage and memoire, this book breaks new ground in political writing from the region. Drawing on interviews with the most powerful leaders in the country, as well as diplomats, it gives an unprecedented glimpse into Kathmandu’s high politics, coupled with on-the-ground reporting of the lives of ordinary citizens of the hills and the plains, striving for a democratic, just and equitable society.

It tracks the hard grind of political negotiations at the heart of instability in Nepal. It traces the rise of a popular rebellion, its integration into the mainstream, and its steady decline. It investigates Nepal’s status as a partly-sovereign country, and reveals India’s overwhelming role. It examines the angst of having to prove one’s loyalties to one’s own country, and exposes the Hindu hill upper-caste dominated power structures.

Battles of The New Republic is a story of the deepening of democracy, of the death of a dream, and of that fundamental political dilemma—who exercises power, to what end, and for whose benefit?


‘Admirably clear and well-told. … Jha’s limited optimism is nicely judged.’ — The Economist

‘In his authoritative Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal, [Jha] follows the country’s tumultuous path from the Maoist rebellion to the years just before the earthquake.’ — The New York Review of Books

‘No one writes about Nepal more incisively and presciently than Prashant Jha. This is a meticulously researched and deeply passionate book. Generations of readers will turn to it to understand Nepal’s fraught transition to democracy.’ — Manjushree Thapa

‘The best way to understand the twists and turns of Nepal’s tortuous peace process has long been to follow the articles of Prashant Jha. Now he has woven his critical understanding of all the political actors, his sensitivity to the claims of marginalised groups and his unique access to India’s involvement into a beautifully written personal account.’ — Ian Martin, former Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of United Nations Mission in Nepal.

‘Prashant Jha is one of India’s finest journalists. This is a meticulous, clear-eyed and riveting story of the revolutionary changes in Nepal, told with narrative flair, historical insight and a depth of knowledge rare in the field. It may be the one indispensable book on the subject. But the story of revolution and reaction, high idealism and low politics, universal aspiration and community division, will be of much wider interest. A major achievement.’ — Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

‘Nepal’s democratic revolution is one of the most remarkable political and social developments of the twenty-first century and there cannot be a better chronicle of this story than Prashant Jha’s Battles of the New Republic.’ — Siddharth Varadarajan, former editor of The Hindu

`This is a highly readable account of recent Nepalese politics by a clear-headed and well-connected journalist. It is especially valuable for its balanced account of India’s role and for its information on the informal links between members of the Nepalese political class, which often cut across ideological cleavages. The author also provides an insider’s view of the problems faced by those Nepalis whose languages and cultures span the border with India and thus make them suspect in the eyes of  the majority hill community.’ — John Whelpton, author of A History of Nepal

‘…the definitive inside account of Nepal’s current political changes.’ —

‘A book of remarkable detail and comprehensiveness, with both historical and sociological depth … Battles of the New Republic is both intellectually serious and accessibly written … [E]ssential reading for anyone who hopes to understand India’s messy, fragile and tragic neighbourhood.’ — Keshava Guha,

‘Jha, one of the most remarkable young journalists from South Asia and undoubtedly a leading voice on Nepal, has made its history comprehensive through his maiden but seminal book, Battles of the New Republic. … This is a definitive account and should be on the essential list of all enthusiasts of South Asian political history.’ — Millennium Post

‘A must read … [T]he book truly reflects Jha’s access to leaders and sources on all sides of Nepal’s political spectrum (including India). … Vividly captures the modern history of that country and provides much needed understanding.’ — Avalok Langer, Tehelka

‘A lucid, living and logical document that expertly intertwines the personal and the political in chronicling Nepal’s trajectory over the last 20 years. … Battles of the New Republic presents meticulously researched facts and reasoning, straddling with ease the line between opinion and reportage. … [A]n engaging read for leaders, journalists, students of politics and indeed anyone interested in comprehensive and insightful observations about a country in transition.’ — Maoist leader Hisila Yami, The Kathmandu Post



Prashant Jha is an associate editor at Hindustan Times. He has extensively covered Nepal’s political transformation over the past decade, and was a political columnist for the country’s leading dailies. Born in Kathmandu, he now lives in New Delhi.

Request an academic inspection copy Request a press review copy
Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.